A Heartbeat and a Guitar
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"Antonino D'Ambrosio's A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a rare work that is beautiful and moving." legendary musician Pete Seeger

“Concise and illuminating.” The Washington Post

"D’Ambrosio skillfully weaves together Cash’s story and La Farge’s, and along the way Marlon Brando, the Carter Family, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Paxton, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, John Trudell, and many others all make their appearances. This is cultural history at its finest." Matthew Rothschild, editor, The Progressive

“This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our  greatest rebel voices.  It has since been locked away in the ‘denial drawer’ (aren't First Nations people just an extinct species, systematically exterminated by European ‘progress’?), but D'Ambrosio admirably shines his investigative lantern into every darkened corner, finally offering some greatly appreciated illumination.” — Jim Jarmusch

“With his latest, “A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears’’ (Nation Books), D’Ambrosio offers a fascinating account of how that album embodied the true grit of Cash’s courage and conviction.”-The Boston Globe

"A Heartbeat and a Guitar by D'Ambrosio is a work of love that honors not only the great Cash but also provides depth and insight into the true history of our nation and its brillant and rebellious song writers who brought solace and comfort to workers and light and clarity to the struggles of human rights for all. D'Ambrosio's touch of bringing so many past performers to life is masterful, kind and deserved. Providing  the links between civil rights, Native rights, and human rights allows those moments to come a new and better understanding of how all these causes are separate but one. Thank you. Cash was well named.....we need him , his songs and a dime or two." -Jack Healey, former head of Amnesty International

"With dazzling storytelling, Antonino D'Ambrosio has potently penned an instant classic that is as timeless and original as Johnny Cash and the great musicians, historical figures, and social movements he skillfully brings to life.  -Jim Marshall, legendary photographer (Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison)

“Antonino D'Ambrosio has really done his homework like no one ever before. I performed with Cash for 40 years and have read every book written about him yet D'Ambrosio astonishingly reveals another side of Cash framed around perhaps his most important work, Bitter Tears. "      Johnny Western, musician and longtime emcee of The Johnny Cash Show.

“Though many books have been recently written about Johnny Cash, this one provides an original perspective on Cash’s ability to span musical boundaries. Recommended for fans of social history or American popular music.”Library Journal


“A fascinating read…highly recommended.” – Johnny Cash Fanzine


"Antonino D'Ambrosio's book on the making of Johnny Cash's album "Bitter Tears" is much more than the story behind those extraordinary songs. It is a rich history, not only of Johnny Cash's life, but of the Indian struggle for justice, which inspired Peter La Farge to write the song ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’ and Cash to sing it.  The book is full of fascinating character sketches of the great folk singers of the Sixties, and their part in the social movements of that exciting era. I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time." – Howard Zinn

“Antonino D’Ambrosio is the voice of a new generation—passionate, intelligent, and fierce—whose work educates and inspires. He now brings his unique voice to tell a unique story of Johnny Cash’s recording of the protest record Bitter Tears. It’s the album no one knows about but is perhaps Cash’s greatest record—and Antonino proves it.”Chuck D of Public Enemy

“D’Ambrosio’s fascinating A Heartbeat and a Guitar brings to mind the extraordinary storytelling of Simon Winchester and the imaginative intellectual curiosity of Malcolm Gladwell but with a innovative twist as D’Ambrosio’s wholly unique voice and searing spirit comes shining through,bringing us a new Johnny Cash, one who was a defiant citizen-artist who believed in the power of music to help change things.”
 —John L. Smith, Johnny Cash's Official Discographer

"I enjoyed Antonino D'Amrbosio's A Heartbeat and a Guitar immensely. D'Ambrosio really did his homework and he is an exceptional storyteller.  D'Ambrosio successfully tied vast events and peoples real-life experiences into a fast moving, dramatic arc that reads like an epic novel. Tragic, infuriating, darkly funny and profoundly inspiring. D'Ambrosio captures an important slice of our cultural and political history."
Wayne Kramer, legendary musician from the MC5

"If you  saw the Oscar winning film Walk the Line, tapped your foot to a Johnny Cash bass line, or didn't know the Man in Black before his late-career revival, you don't know the full story and you have an obligation to read A Heartbeat and a Guitar. This remarkable book is the missing link: it explains the gut-level political passions of Cash like nothing that exists in print. History is trying to give Cash a political root canal. D'Ambrosio sets the record straight, shines the light on his fangs.... and a remarkable and forgotten album. I utterly lost myself in this book."- Dave Zirin, author A People's History of Sports in the United States

Copyright © 2009 by Nation Books